Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this news story. The opinions I share are my own.
If there's one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it allowed me and my kids to discover TV shows and programming that weren't previously on our radar. Adventure Time was one such series.
It's not very often that a television show designed for kids reaches a broader appeal. That's exactly what has happened with the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. It's not only a hit with teens and pre-teens but it's also a favorite of older generations. The show spawned toys, video games, comic books, and a spin-off show before wrapping up its run in 2018 after 10 seasons.
After its run concluded on the Cartoon Network, HBO Max brought it on board to its streaming platform and the rest is history. Driven by the success of the fledgling streaming service and restless energy brought on by the pandemic, Adventure Time enjoyed a renaissance as a whole new audience discovered its brilliance.
Thankfully, HBO Max had the foresight to order four new hour-long specials that would debut exclusively on their service. On June 25, 2020, the first special, "BMO," premiered and the other three followed over the next 15 months. Adventure Time: Distant Lands is the home entertainment collection that packages all four specials for packaged media on Blu-ray and DVD.
Generally speaking the series mainly followed Finn and his dog Jake, who happens to have magical powers as they transverse the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. The Land of Ooo is a fantasy land of sorts inhabited by strange monsters but also cute creatures. So, naturally Finn and Jake meet some interesting creatures along the way, and over the course of 10 seasons, these "secondary" characters have enjoyed their own acclaim and fandom.
The first special, "BMO" follows a robot shaped like a hand-held gaming system that is tasked with a special mission.
BMO - follows the lovable little robot from Adventure Time. When there's a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, there's only one hero to call, and it's probably not BMO. Except that this time it is!
While it was a bit risky to debut a special where Finn and Jake did not feature prominently, it was a brilliant move that paid off. I think we can all relate a bit with BMO despite its very non-human existence. Of course, that begs the question, what does make up the human condition, and do you actually have to be human to experience it?
While, thankfully, Adventure Time doesn't spend too much time in navel-gazing, these types of insights are just below the surface of the series. I do think that it's a good indication of a successful show that can be enjoyed on one level by a younger audience and still pique the interest of an older demographic.
The second special is "Obsidian" and features two of what I feel are core characters to the show, Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. Marceline is an old vampire and rock music aficionado while Princess Bubblegum is a sentient piece of gum that rules over Candy Kindom.
Obsidian - features Marceline & Princess Bubblegum as they journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdomâ€”and deep into their tumultuous pastâ€”to prevent an earthshaking catastrophe.
This adventure is filled with a dragon and inner turmoil as Marceline must travel back and confront her past if she is to save the Glass Kingdom. The camaraderie between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum drives the action and really lets you into their vulnerabilities along the way.
Again, the depth of this show is what continues to amaze me.
Finally, the third special focuses on Finn and Jake. Finn must seek out Jake and together they must embark on an amazing journey together.
Together Again – brings best buds, Finn and Jake, together again to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.
I don't really want to delve too much into this one as it's a spiritual journey that not only hits all of the notes of the bond between these two characters in the series, but also touches upon the notion of the inseparable bond between man and dog.
If you've ever loved and lost a pet, this special will tug upon your heartstrings all while making you laugh.
Finally, the last special follows Peppermint Butler and his trials and tribulations in Wizard School. For me, this was my least favorite special, but still, it's a worthy inclusion in this set and certainly fills in some necessary backstory on a major character.
Wizard City - follows Peppermint Butler, starting over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student. When mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on Pep, and his checkered past, can he master the mystic arts in time to prove his innocence?
Over the course of the series, the creators always cast Peppermint Butler in an ambiguous light. He was always loyal to Princess Bubblegum, but there were always little allusions to a darker side from his past. While "Wizard City" gives us a glimpse at his past, it truly introduces more questions than it answers.
Overall, Adventure Time: Distant Lands is an enjoyable compendium of specials. They not only give fan service to the show that we've all come to love, but they provide us with the hope that more specials are sure to follow.
In the land of streaming, content is king. And there is nothing better than to have the rights to hot property with a raving fanbase salivating for more episodes. Time will tell, but I think it's a foregone conclusion that we will see more specials in the coming years.
Adventure Time: Distant Lands is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.